Illegal mining scandals continue to haunt Karnataka
Illegal mining scandals continue to haunt KarnatakaSandeep Moudgal | TNN | May 31, 2018, 06:20 ISTB S YeddyurappaBENGALURU: In the high-voltage war of words between opposition leader BS Yeddyurappa and chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, the long-pending case of Janthakal mining scandal resurfaced.
Yeddyurappa, in his speech targeting Kumaraswamy, raised the 2007 allegations when the CM had âpressurisedâ then mines secretary Gangaram Baderiya to clear a file in favour of the mining company. Baderiya was later arrested and is out on bail.
âAs many as 15 mining leases worth Rs 2,450 crore were extended by Kumaraswamy when he was CM. Corruption charges were levelled against him in the Janthakal mining case. Do you (Congress) want to support such a character?â Yeddyurappa said in the House last Friday
While Yeddyurappa walked out of the House soon after, Kumaraswamy responded that he had nothing to hide.
âEver since those allegations were made, including a kickback of Rs150 crore, Iâve been fighting the case alone. Nobody from the BJP, who were part of the then government in 2006-08, or anyone from the Congress stood by me. I am, and will continue to fight alone. There is no case of graft and Iâm still hunting where this Rs 150-crore kickback has been recorded,â said Kumaraswamy.
The case, which has been handed to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing illegal mining constituted by the previous Congress government, has raised speculation of such scandals continuing to haunt the state after eight years after they hit the headlines.
The SIT had summoned Kumaraswamy in 2017 to respond to the allegations in the Janthakal case. He had applied for ant icipatory bail when there was talk that the SIT would arrest him. A final verdict is still awaited from the special Lokayukta court.
Meanwhile, two key accused legislators who figured in the illegal mining case and re-elected in 2018 on Congress tickets, are also part of the coalition. Anand Singh and B Nagendra, once with the BJP, are in the thick of the scandal with the former even being allegedly threatened by BJP of cases being pursued actively if he joined the coalition. Singh is out on bail in several cases.
The re-entry of Gali Janardhana Reddy and his brothers G Somashekara Reddy and G Karunakara Reddy along with their close associate B Sreeramulu also ensures mining will always be a hot topic in the assembly.
While the BJP has distanced itself from Janardhana Reddy, the coalition partners are likely to, time and again, bring the spotlight back on illegal mining in Ballari.
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